Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Ashley Wurzbacher. A 5 Under 35 honoree, her debut story collection, Happy Like This, won the 2019 John Simmons Short Fiction Award. It is available from the University of Iowa Press.


Wurzbacher’s writing has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, The Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She earned her BA from Allegheny College, her MFA from Eastern Washington University, and her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston.

Originally from Titusville, Pennsylvania, she currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama and teaches creative writing at the University of Montevallo.

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Kirstin Valdez Quade is the guest on the latest episode of Otherppl with Brad Listi. Her debut story collection, Night at the Fiestas, is now available in paperback from W.W. Norton & Company.

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Some behind-the-scenes advice for attending The National Book Awards, or any literary party:

These days, the author Sarah Braunstein is not hard to find. Her debut novel The Sweet Relief of Missing Children was released by W.W. Norton & Co. earlier this year, and she was recently named one of “5 Under 35” fiction writers by the National Book Foundation.  And yet, several years ago, as a new mother and the owner of two master’s degrees, one in social work, she wondered when she would even find the time to write. Thanks to an anonymous nomination, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, which honors emerging female writers, awarded Braunstein a $25,000 scholarship, making sure that she did not fall through the cracks. Braunstein pays the gift forward in The Sweet Relief of Missing Children, in which she chronicles three children/teenagers who go “missing,” a term that winds up being different for each, and for the reader as well.